By James Marr
"Seen in the course of the thick finish of a schnapps bottle, the belief of using to a track pageant close to Timbuktu was once idiot-proof. Then sunrise arrived with a clunk; West Africa? No topic the place I became, the interpreting used to be both grim... Daniel Houghton: murdered as he begged water from a good close to Simbing. Mungo Park: overcome by way of paranoia and slaughtered at Bussa Rapids. Gordon Laing: strangled and beheaded open air Timbuktu. Hugh Clapperton: crippled with malaria and dysentary, rotted to loss of life. Richard Lander: despatched quickly insane and compelled to devour bowls of poison through the king of Badagari. i might yanked my examining periods from my nostril and gawped during the window. Did i actually are looking to force via this hell?" In his Toyota 4x4, with his spouse and acquaintances, James Marr heads overland within the foosteps of 18th and nineteenth century explorers. alongside the best way he loses his passport within the sand, ruptures his gasoline tank, fortifies his...
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Additional resources for City of Myths, River of Dreams. Overland from the Barbary Coast to the Gulf of Guinea
Originally a Phoenician trading settlement, in more recent years it has become a refuge for surfers and backpackers, whilst today a new era of high end tourism is being encouraged by the Moroccan government. By the time we neared Essaouira we’d been driving for an hour in darkness, something we’d promised ourselves not to do. The roads might be bad during the daylight, at night the chance of an accident increases one hundredfold. As both of us scanned the silvery limits of our headlights with intent concentration, turning over in my mind was a snippet of advice I’d read in a book on travelling overland on the African continent: never stop if you hit someone with your car, it said, but go straight to a police station and report the incident.
This was to be a weighty moment for the simple reason I’ve never been an enthusiastic camper. I guess this might rank as a considerable flaw in an overlander. Try as I might I’ve always struggled to consider camping as anything other than a crude affair. For me it never ceases to conjure notions of Victorian privation: damp underclothes, leaking accommodation, cold showers and squatting in draughty wooden sheds – and that’s if you’re lucky. Alarmingly, there are a couple of other attributes I’d read should come easily to the overlander: the capacity to embrace uncertainty, and an ability to laugh in the face of adversity.
It was perfect. Even two rank amateurs like us could achieve this exercise within a couple of minutes, and with much less effort than a conventional ground tent. For me it was the ideal solution, with no risk of having left the pegs on the supermarket shelf. From the roof I had an unrestricted view of camping suburbia. The plot on our right was vacant. The other side was inhabited by a Belgian in a bulging T-shirt, his white, stick-like legs poking from a pair of shorts. He was watching me, appearing to fret over why his neighbour was intruding on his privacy in such a manner.